A group of misfits who had never before laid eyes on one another are suddenly galvanised by a tavern encounter to go forth and save the world together.
It’s arguably Dungeon & Dragon’s biggest cliché.
“You all meet in a tavern” is not always the most exciting way to kick off a new campaign and to generate player excitement.
So we thought we’d share three of our favourites.
The Main Square
The centre of any medieval settlement, the main square was where traders came to sell their goods at market, and it would be full of merchants, nobles, peasants, travellers, bards and other entertainers.
It was also the place where politicians delivered speeches and town criers announced news from neighbouring settlements, and would play host to fairs, tournaments, street theatre, parades and other spectacles.
It may also have served as a place of executions, and a gathering point during any uprisings and civil unrest.
If a physical location like the Tavern or the Main Square aren’t you thing, how about a social ‘location’? A social ‘location’ can be the jumping off point for many adventures: a wealthy noble is poisoned; a patron sees potential in the party (after they foil a thief, or win a tournament) that will help them achieve their aims; or a valuable item goes missing from the town’s treasure vault and the town’s visitors are blamed.
Some potential events you could use as starting points would be.
- Festival (there is plenty of real life inspiration)
- Tournament or sporting event
- Royal wedding
- Funeral (for a statesperson or hero)
- Speech (announcing a controversial new law)
- Execution, uprising or riot.
It borders on cliché but it is a classic! Starting your adventure in a prison provides a compelling shared motivation for players that has been the start of many great adventures, and the catalyst for many adventuring parties getting together to save the world. You can spice things up by having them hooded, bound, gagged, drugged, interrogated, you name it!
Hopefully this blog has inspired you to think outside the box for your next adventure as a GM. Good luck!